The central claim of the right has long been that bureaucracy is the chief impediment to free enterprise — that big government too frequently gums up the works of a society that would be much more productive if left alone. As President Reagan put it in his inaugural address in 1981, ‘government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.’ Conservatives have, in turn, argued that government undermines the core values of hard work and perseverance that arise naturally in flourishing communities — that bureaucracy disrupts the innovative spirit that might otherwise thrive.
The left, on the other hand, is inspired by a different view: that lack of opportunity is the nation’s most pressing challenge, and that government has an important role to play in steering the nation toward a more widely shared prosperity. Notwithstanding a new focus on the culture of poverty, liberals have largely argued that better education, nutrition, health care, and infrastructure are crucial elements of the public mandate.
Both arguments, however, are predicated on the same notion: that the country should pursue a strategy that allows more Americans to tap into the strength and innovative spirit that is organically borne in their local communities. While conservatives may argue that the best thing government can do is get out of the way, and liberals may believe that the proper strategy is to provide additional opportunity, both sides presume that the spirit of Tocquevillian community fuels the society at large. But in a nation bereft of middle rings, that assumption may no longer apply.
THE QUICK & EASY
For those of us on the left (given our inclinations to favor fairness and be more concerned about equality versus inequality), the failure of conservatives to address the economic imbalances and the obvious harm amounts to callous disregard. It may be convenient to seek closure quickly and avoid troubling oneself with nuance and a range of considerations affecting policy, but that strategy has its drawbacks. Should anyone be surprised when conflict ensues?
Those adverse consequences—resulting from a deliberate unwillingness to use larger/more powerful institutions such as government to redress those failings—is unfathomable to those of us on the Left. It’s all the more disconcerting when two seconds worth of reflection and consideration demonstrate that the economic harms which millions now contend with is clearly not their fault.
Conservatives also want material improvement in people’s lives, of course, but proving that their policies can produce such an outcome is a luxury, not a necessity.
In general, conservatism isn’t pragmatic because policy outcomes aren’t the goal. Indeed, they’re largely irrelevant. As we’ve seen in too many instances, Republicans aren’t principally concerned with solving problems; their goals are ideological.
THE GOP CIRCUS
Exhibit A: Sixty-plus votes to repeal Obamacare [ignoring for the moment the fact that the odds of President Obama agreeing with a Congressional vote on the subject was sure to occur moments after we all learn to make ourselves invisible]. Number of proposals to replace said legislation? Zero. Zip. Nada.
The point [and I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt by assuming there is one besides acting as show ponies for their handlers]?
How about the Benghazi Circus? Besides spending millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars to find anything remotely resembling justification was designed to accomplish … what was that, exactly? Something nefarious, Right? Mugging time in front of the cameras? Showing loyal followers just how committed they were to the search for one small crumb of evidence while Rome burned?
How are all of those GOP-lead efforts to create jobs and stimulate the economy here in the 21st Century working out so far?
I’m paraphrasing, but there is an old adage suggesting that insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome.
How about trying something different to give ourselves a slightly better chance of getting different results? Just a thought….
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Note to readers: In addition to my other blogs and writings here [see the links above] and at Peak Oil Matters, I invite you to enjoy some brief excepts from my eBook political thriller:
The Tretiak Agenda
They began [here] on June 15, and will continue weekly throughout the summer
NOTE: This series runs on Thursdays
~ My Photo: Good Harbor Beach Sunset – 06.15.16
Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
Be the change you want in the world – Gandhi
The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything – Albert Einstein
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Our contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.
As each side bordering the political chasm digs in ever deeper to engage in skirmishes whose intensities and potential consequences seem to have no end point in sight, we should be wondering with greater urgency what sort of “community” will emerge from the wreckage. How are we preparing ourselves to pursue opportunities and provide for the well-being of our families when so much energy is dissipated in battles where nonsense is the primary weapon?
Assuming the future still matters to at least most of us, perhaps a momentary pause to consider where current choices will lead is called for….Ignoring legitimate real-world challenges, denying they exist, or making absurd, ignorant claims to defend unconscionable political tactics will not affect the arrival of those problems in the least. Widespread impacts will be following close behind. Do we continue the ideological battles, or decide to meet the challenges by cooperating as needed?
That there’s no chance whatsoever of gaining ground in any meaningful way seems to be routinely overlooked. So too do these battles offer nothing but the creation of more problems for us all in the years to come.